Rainbow Wahine beat Aggies in OT, 74-71
A shaky University of Hawai'i women's basketball team steadied itself in overtime last night at New Mexico State.
Amy Sanders scored a team-high 21 points, and Janevia Taylor hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime as the Rainbow Wahine defeated the Aggies, 74-71, in a Western Athletic Conference game in Las Cruces, N.M.
"We tried to give this one away," said Hawai'i coach Jim Bolla, whose team blew a five-point lead late in regulation, and trailed 66-63 in overtime, before storming back to win its fifth consecutive game.
Hawai'i abandoned its struggling 1-3-1 amoeba defense in the second half, and saw one of its players whistled for a technical foul late in the second half with the team clinging to a 61-58 lead. New Mexico State hit one of two foul shots, and eventually sent the game into overtime.
"Down the stretch, we just didn't execute the way we needed to," Bolla said. "We got a technical at a real crucial time with about four minutes remaining in the game. One of our players said something to the referee, and it turned into a technical foul. That allowed them to get right back into the game.
"But the key is, we survived it," Bolla added. "We're going to have to play a lot better."
Hawai'i improved to 18-8 overall and 9-6 in the WAC. New Mexico State dropped to 8-19 and 5-11. It was Hawai'i's second overtime game against the Aggies, who won 72-69 in double-overtime in Honolulu on Jan. 14.
Hawai'i's Brittany Grice added 11 points, and Tanya Smith had 14 points and a career-high 18 rebounds yesterday. Senior forward Jenean Ford led New Mexico State with 24 points on the Aggies' Senior Night. Monique Bribiescas added 14 points, and Tristan Baker 10.
Hawai'i, which trailed by as many as nine points early in the second half, took a 61-56 lead with 4:38 left in regulation, but the Aggies clawed back to send the game into overtime tied at 63.
In five-minute overtime, the Aggies took a 66-63 lead, but Hawai'i responded with a basket by Grice and the go-ahead 3-pointer by Taylor for a 68-66 lead with 1:55 left.
"I think with the overtime, (Taylor) got her second wind," Bolla said.
Taylor added an 18-foot jumper, and the Aggies' Ford answered with a layup to cut the deficit to 70-68 with 35.8 seconds left.
Smith made 2 of 4 free throws to increase Hawai'i's lead to 72-68, but Bribiescas sank a 30-foot shot to close the Aggies to 72-71 with 11 seconds left.
On the ensuing inbounds play, the Aggies fouled Sanders, who sank two free throws for a 74-71 lead with 6.4 seconds left. New Mexico State missed a last-second 3-point attempt.
With the score tied at 63 with 2:13 remaining in regulation, both teams had chances to take the lead, but Hawai'i missed two go-ahead free throws, and then came away empty on four possessions. New Mexico went scoreless on four possessions, including a missed layup.
Hawai'i will end its regular season tomorrow when it visits conference-leader Louisiana Tech. The Lady Techsters defeated host Hawai'i, 71-66, in overtime on Jan. 12.